After a restless nights sleep I forced myself to move as daylight appeared. Charlotte fired the stove up as I began the daily faff of packing my stuff away. Just before 7:30am the sun began to rise in her morning splendour, there's no better way to start the day!
After a brief bit of beach yoga we say goodbye to the lovely cactus garden and started the days riding following a gravelly doubletrack that looked like a washed out riverbed.
It's so calm, so peaceful and rather wonderful, just the sound of our pedals in the morning sunshine. As expected our easy start to the day ends as we find the steep track the Jeep driver told us about last night and it's time for a bit of an upper body workout as we heave our beastly bikes up the loose trail.
It's a good sign when you're still smiling whilst heaving your life-on-wheels up a hill . We share a knowing look before Charlotte says to me, 'there are only a few people I would do this kind of trip with', and I totally agree :-)
As we top out it's obvious that this is going to be a special morning ride. Winding rocky trails snaking down and out of the valleys to a backdrop of sand coloured hills and blue skies - what a joy!
The next few hours were a sheer delight.
Undulating trails hugging the hillside and clifftop riding with a sea breeze to cool us down after the climbs.
When we saw cars ahead it was time to say goodbye to the wilds of the trail. It's so easy to get used to seeing no-one and feeling really remote when realistically you're never that far away from civilisation on such a small island. The people were flocking to the beaches around the Costa de Papagayo which is a stone's throw from Playa Blanca and where we were headed for the night.
It looked as if the last few miles would be hard work as we followed (or more accurately pushed) the increasingly sandy trail up and down the land but soon we were back on solid ground to end our trail time before hitting the tarmac.
The route wound through the resorts and streets of Playa Blanca, a world of whitewashed buildings with their tourist inhabitants wandering in the sunshine. The promenade was never-ending and was getting busier and busier as we weaved through the holiday hordes. This was a million miles away from our start to the day and it was strange to be back in such a largely populated area, the biggest we'd been in since arriving in Lanzarote.
There were bars galore and happy people enjoying a beer in the sunshine as it got harder to inch between the throng of people. Finally with the ferry terminal in sight we breathed a sigh of relief to be off the promenade. Spying the nearest bar for a well-earned cold drink I told Charlotte that it may be the closest but I'm not going to the Irish Bar and she laughed and we agreed on the Spanish bar next to it. Our arrival caused a few interesting looks from the patrons as we propped the bikes up out front and the waiter started to chat with Charlotte to quiz her about our journey even before we'd ordered drinks. Five minutes later and order was restored with an ice cold cerveza for Charlotte and a Coke for me- happy days!
An hour later, with full stomachs we rode the few minutes to an apartment where Charlotte's dad and stepmam had very kindly offered to put us up in for the night. A cup of tea, a hot shower and a load of washing later and we were feeling like new women. I'd forgotten just how dirty you can feel just in a day of riding in the heat and I seemed to have dust and sand just about everywhere and in everything.
As Charlotte headed back onto two wheels to scope out a ride on the other side of the coast, I had some bike maintenance to do. My front derailleur had flatly refused to go into the bigger chainring halfway through the mornings ride. Luckily it wasn't a huge deal as I still had the easier gears, it was just annoying and to be fair so were the next few hours of tinkering to try and fix it by adjusting the cable tension. By late afternoon I had decided I needed to make a decision as to whether to take it to a bike shop or not. I rode it around the block a few times hammering the gearing to test it and it all seemed rather functional so it was back to the apartment to chill for the rest of the evening.
Our time on Lanzarote is coming to an end and I can't deny it's been pretty incredible and exceeded my expectations. Here's to more of the same as we continue our venture over the sea to Fuertaventura.